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Jan Shutt

Drapers probe leading Indies to get their View From The Shop floor.

How is trade at the moment?
Absolutely fantastic. It’s so good that it feels like Christmas. I was worried that we would be affected by all the doom and gloom that I read about, but it hasn’t happened to us. Last month was a smasher – we were up 33% on the previous February.

What are you expecting out of Easter sales this season? Do you think it will be a busy time?
It will be busy as everyone wants a new outfit before Easter. We’ll lose two days of trading but the run-up will be busy.

Are you doing a pre-Easter Sale in line with the high street?
Absolutely not. We won’t have a Sale until June or July and would never have a Sale outside a recognised period. I wouldn’t be frightened if the whole of Manchester went on Sale because I’m confident about our product and we have a strong customer base.

How will the rise in the minimum wage affect your business?
It won’t because we pay above the minimum wage to ensure we get good staff. Our pay is in line with Manchester Central prices.

What is the biggest challenge facing you as a womenswear independent and how are you combating it?
E-commerce. We launched a transactional site about four months ago and it’s difficult to keep the stock levels high enough to juggle online and retail. For example, this week we received some Moschino bags which sold out in one day.

Which brands are selling well for you at the moment?
Hoss Intropia, Marc Cain and Sarah Pacini. Anything glamorous and brightly coloured is selling well. Cashmere from Don’t Label Me and jewellery have also been strong sellers.

What kind of trends are you buying into for autumn?
We’ve bought heavily into knitwear because we sold out last winter. We’ve also invested into colour, including lime, cobalt blue and purple. I think fuchsia will be back on the scene too as we haven’t seen pink in a while.

How have your buying budgets changed this year?
It has remained static. There was so much hype about an economic downturn that I decided to be a bit cautious this season, but my budget didn’t go down.

What was the best trade show that you visited this season and why?
Pure was fantastic, especially for the accessories section. But Prêt á Porter Paris was very uninspiring. There was no freshness or new trends.

Jan Shutt is chief executive of Sunday Best, Rawtenstall, Lancashire.

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